Content is everywhere. But good, shareable, and compelling content comes by less frequently.
Whether it’s writing catchy headlines, covering insightful blog topics or sharing branded web content that resonates well with an audience, creating effective copy is a skill that requires lots of practice, researching and most importantly, editing.
Well-written material helps your brand build credibility, distinguishes your voice in the industry and also builds a community around your business. In our years of writing and publishing online content, here are five core do's and don’ts we always abide by.
Do understand your message in the simplest terms
What is the purpose of what you are writing? Whether it’s meant to be entertaining, educational, promotional or otherwise, always know the exact intent of your piece. Write down this message, and keep it to one sentence. With this in mind, every sentence in your writing should have the same subtext, which is to relay this specific message. If it doesn’t, it should be taken out.
Don’t write without reading first
Chances are, if you’re writing something, someone else has already written it. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t carry on creating content, but that there already likely exists a background of information related to your topic that can be leveraged. Read other posts about the same topic and make note of which parts are memorable, as well as which parts are confusing.
Do take it personally and be consistent with your tone
Someone is bringing your content to life by reading it, so reach out to them directly in your writing. Using words like “you” or “your” fosters a sense of understanding and immediacy in your copywriting. Use a consistent tone in your online material, and write as if you were a character that embodies those traits.
Don’t forget to use short sentences
Converting online written information into knowledge is taxing on the reader. That’s why short sentences are so effective. Every few sentences, take time to summarize your thought concisely. Be brief. Think of the short sentence as a highlighter marker – it’s ineffective if used all the time, but very effective if used correctly.
Do use formatting — it’s your best friend!
Reading something online isn’t like reading a book, so use formatting tricks like spacing, bullet points and lists to your advantage. Make your piece as easy and comfortable to read as possible, and your readers will be more compelled to continue.
- Use lists when you are trying to show various points of view on one topic.
- Use bullet points to elaborate on one thought.
- Use spacing to emphasize a sentence or key idea.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Writing effective online content isn’t for everyone! There are lots of custom copywriting and web content services available for those who would rather outsource this type of work. For small or medium-sized growing businesses who have other tasks to focus on, partnering with a writing service is often a cost efficient way to create high quality content.
About the Author:
Vicky Liu is a Canupy content creator, blogger and social media enthusiast. She studied RTA Media Production at Ryerson University in Toronto. Her interests include digital design, concert-going and stalking assorted bakeries on Instagram.